Young Money: Dakota Jones Is The New Face Of Ultrarunning

In 2011, at the age of 20, Jones finished second at the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run. Photo: Meghan M. Hicks

“It’s difficult being a race director.”

At an age when many of his peers are still focused on the ultimate spring break, Jones is trying to forge a sustainable career out of his passion for the mountains.

Motivated, and in some ways overwhelmed, by the cult-like popularity of trail and mountain running in Europe — think thousands of cheering fans, autograph seekers, big prize purses and quaint villages dwarfed by Jumbotron screens — Jones has created a race in Colorado that merges the European appreciation of the sport with the pure grit and soul of a race like Hardrock 100.

The result, which came together with the help of Denver-based runner Reese Ruland and Telluride ultrarunner Ricky Denesik, is the Aug. 10 Telluride Mountain Run, a 38-mile race that crosses 10 mountain passes above 12,000 feet.

It’s just the next step in the evolution of “Young Money.”

“Dakota’s thought process is at least a decade ahead of others with his talent,” says trail runner Matt Hart, Jones’ friend, former roommate and the one who gave him the nickname. “He’s smart and mature beyond his years, but also has an intoxicating enthusiasm for the sport.”

This piece first appeared in the August 2013 issue of Competitor magazine. 

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